Alternative to ASCAP / TUE 1-23-13 / Kohl's competitor / Old Carl Sagan series / Whiskey distillery supply / Metal between osmium platinum on periodic table

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Constructor: Jay Kaskel

Relative difficulty: Challenging (a comical 8:17)

THEME: Byproducts of fat and moody dairy cows — ordinary dairy products (all two-word phrases, where first word is an adjective) are clued as if the adjectives in the products' names were indicative of the kinds of cows used to produce them, thus

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Byproduct of a sad dairy cow? (BLUE CHEESE)
  • 25A: Byproduct of a homely dairy cow? (PLAIN YOGURT)
  • 37A: Byproduct of an exhausted dairy cow? (WHIPPED BUTTER)
  • 52A: Byproduct of an irate dairy cow? (STEAMED MILK)
  • 61A: Byproduct of a portly dairy cow? (HEAVY CREAM)

Word of the Day: Willy LEY (54D: Science writer Willy) —
Willy Ley (October 2, 1906 - June 24, 1969) was a German-American science writer, spaceflight advocate, and historian of science who helped popularize rocketry, spaceflight, and natural history in both Germany and the United States. The crater Ley on the far side of the Moon is named in his honor. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is a cute theme, though STEAMED MILK is a bit of an outlier (all the others you purchase at the grocery store, whereas steaming is something you or a barista do to milk). Fill is solid, if mostly unremarkable (SOUR MASH is the big winner of the day—3D: Whiskey distillery supplier). But the only thing I will remember about this puzzle, if I remember anything, is the E-OD / TA-I crossing (38D: Gen. follower + 42A: Cry often made after a whistle), because it absolutely froze me. At first, I thought "oh you just have an answer wrong somewhere, keep moving," but then I got All the surrounding answers and nothing changed: still E-OD / TA-I. I kept checking the surrounding answers. Early on, I wasn't sure of IRIDIUM (how in the world do I know where it falls on the periodic table?) (26D: Metal between osmium and platinum on the periodic table), so I took out the -IU- only to have to put them back again. The Kia is an OPTIMA (33D: Kia model), the facial place is a SPA (34D: Place to get a facial), the suffix is clearly -OUS (49A: Suffix with cavern ... or gorge?), but Nothing Goes in the E-OD slot. That's just nonsense. And what kind of cry follows a whistle? TAVI? TAMI? I Ran The Alphabet In My Head. T.W.I.C.E. But I must've been doing it in that way where you know the end of the alphabet is going to be a bust so you don't really go all the way ... that's the only way I can explain not seeing TAXI. Eventually, I just though of all the possible words/answers that could possibly result from TA-I, and I hit it. And oh, yeah, good ole EXOD. Ugh. It's Really unfortunate that this failure on my part happened at precisely the ugliest part of the grid (EXOD. crossing -OUS = nobody's idea of a good time). But I can't blame the puzzle too much. I should've seen it, and didn't. And I mean *really* didn't. Faceplant City.

I'm not sure the times are going to come in "Challenging," but I'd bet they'll come in at least "Medium-Challenging," because this grid felt somewhat slow-going for a Tuesday even before I tanked it (a quick glance at some of the times at the NYT site seems to bear this out). I wrote in IRANI where FARSI belonged (45A: Tehran tongue). [Mercy!] could've meant a million things. Or at least two. GASP did not occur to me ... ever. Thought start of a cheer was HIP (it's SIS). Had SETS AT for GOES AT. DUMB for NUMB. But then there are other parts of the grid that I blew right through. Never even saw the clues for stuff like AIN'T and AGAS. Overall, just a weird, weird solve. EXOD. Dear lord, I'll be dreaming about that horrible abbrev. tonight.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:12 AM  
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jae 12:15 AM  

This was on the tough side for a Tues. for me also.  I needed to erase POEms for POESY and aTEST for NTEST, but what really slowed me up was the same thing that brought Rex to a halt, the TAXI/EXOD cross.  I was looking for the crossword friendly Gen.  EXer not the bible.   Amusing theme plus a smooth grid = a fun Tues.  Nice one Jay Kaskel!

Anonymous 12:15 AM  

OUS, not seen in about 7 years, crossing EXOD, not seen in close to 9 years. I decided that OUS had to be right. That is a sad, sad cross.

Nice theme and nicely done. I liked it.

Time was on the top-end of average, but can't really say why. Just wound up that way.

Anonymous 12:21 AM  

Liked it! Theme was fairly obvious, which made the long answers come quickly, and I finished with an average time for a Tuesday (sorry, Rex!). And a nice shout out to ACME! Nothing much else to say, really -- just a good old Tuesday.

Anonymous 12:23 AM  

I had exactly the same experience with E-OD/TA-I, feel slightly less dismayed by that now that I know I wasn't the only one.

PK 12:32 AM  

For non-speed demons, this was easy. I know that timing is the only really objective way of evaluating difficulty, but subjectively, this was way easy. Especially if, like me and jae, you put in (incorrectly) Gen. Xer, which gave you Taxi, and then you wrote over er with od when the cavern and gorge thing became obvious.

Plus, I like the idea of emotional cows. It's Fat Stock Show and Rodeo time here in Cowtown, and I imagine that cow emotions are running quite high.

Joseph B 12:37 AM  

First of all, who would bother to abbreviate Exodus as "Exod."? If you count the period, you're saving just one letter!

The "xi" of TAXI were my last squares. Didn't help that the "i" looked so unlikely that I convinced myself that IRIDIUM is spelled with an "e."

Fortunately, whenever I run the alphabet (an embarrassingly frequent activity), I've learned not to skip Q, X, and Z.

pooloniousmonk 12:59 AM  

A general exodus seems redundant. Wouldn't an exodus be general by definition?

Pete 1:02 AM  

I hated this puzzle. It left me feeling exactly as I imagine a lactose intolerant person who's just pigged out on a tub of Ben & Jerry's must feel.

I recognize that it's a perfectly good Tuesday puzzle, but I'm left wondering why we have to have Tuesday puzzles. What earthly good does it do to string together a bunch of phrases related to dairy products? This was an adequate theme, but if a theme isn't killer, why do it? Because that's the rule, Monday to Wednesdays have to be themed? Why? Is there really such a significant portion of the solving population out there who's laughing at WHIPPEDBUTTER, a portion who out-polls the "holy hell, someone really made a puzzle of dairy products"? The whole thing reminded me of a radio show I listened to tonight, a compilation of the best satire Rock&Roll songs. There was one in the six or seven I listened to (Zappa) that was both a good parody and a good song. The rest were either terrible songs, or the most feeble attemtps at satire imaginable. Why not just try to make a good song.

By the way, why are these clued as byproducts and not products? Does the sad cow produce primarily ordinary cheese but shit out some BLUECHEESE as an aside to be recovered in the offal shoot?

chefwen 2:00 AM  

Never even saw EXOD, filled itself in before I got to it. Had I seen it I would be scratching my head as was my husband with his copy and I pride myself with knowing the books of the bible (they were beaten into me as a child)

This was a fun puzzle for a former Cheesehead (once a cheesehead, always a cheesehead)

@Pete needs to eat some cheese curds and chill.

ACME 2:16 AM  

C'mon, who doesn't love cow jokes!!!!

@Pete 1:02am is just moooooody!

Loved the shout out and agree it's easier this one if you are not speed solving, you just plod along, chewing your cud, and you get it.

My nit is that I thought it was BLEU CHEESE even in English...I usually have to force myself not to correct menus, esp if they misspell Caesar salad as well.

Couple of writeovers: SOURMAlt, don't know what SOURMASH is (I know, @chefwen, I have to learn to drink!)...and AONE/ONEA.

One Malapop: 55D KILLS for KICKS and then it appears at 68A!

But of course I'm gonna love AM I/ACME cross!

When I was five, my mom took us to a taping of "Truth or Consequences" and I was chosen at the end to tell a joke.
So, I asked the scarily over made-up Bob Barker
"Why are barns so noisy?"

and he asked "Bars? Why are Bars so noisy?!"

"NO! BAR-N-S" (already mad that my timing was now shot!)

And Bob Barker said "Why are BARNS so noisy?"

"Because the cows have horns!"

I got paid $5 (1965, so that wasn't bad as my first paid comedy appearance!)

Anyway, weird fun crazy puzzle.

Mnemonic once again for the 5 books of Moses:
Goldberg's Elephant Lost Nine Dollars.
(Thank you Mr. Henken, RIP)

Anonymous 2:36 AM  

Exodus follows genesis.

Ellen S 4:05 AM  

@ACME, I was happy to see you in the puzzle. But Willy Ley again? Oh, well, I'm not complaining: after Thursday-Friday-Saturday last week, I'm grateful for puzzles I can finish! Hand up here for "EXer" before "EXOD" -- but falling into the trap gave me TAXI (heck, I'm older than the Boomers, I feel like Ilived in biblical times, why did I miss the clue?) so all was well. Oh, and I knew FARSI right off the bat, so I get to feel smug about that.

I used to SHUN Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday as too easy; but after being KILLed by those SAVAGE end-of-week puzzles, I considered this one A GAS. (please feel free to shoot me for the foregoing.)

GILL I. 4:53 AM  

Same dUMB for NUMB but everything else just popped right on it.
Cute Tuesday foodie drink puzzle. Liked EGGSHELL and SOURMASH. KILLS right above SPLATS. COSMOS and ALE. I had to look up AINT for the "is you is or is you clue. The first thing that pops up is a great Tom and Jerry clip.

Elle 54 5:19 AM  

My faceplantcity was PLAID yogurt! Could not figure it out! But Rex said he put DUMB instead of NUMB too so I don't feel so bad. I got EXOD but Aha! Didn't hit til I read these comments.

JFC 5:45 AM  

@Rex, you're missing a "t" in one of your words. Just though I would mention it. Fun puzzle. Anyone who wants to know why sour mash is not bourbon can find that at another site....


Evan 6:30 AM  

Wow, this is rare moment for me -- I actually solved a puzzle faster than Rex did (7:45)! That probably won't happen again for quite some time. In fact, I'll probably get hammered by tomorrow's puzzle where everyone else will call it easy, and I'll crawl back to not-boasting-about-my-solving-time country.

Actually, I agree that this was a pretty tough puzzle for a Tuesday. I didn't get stopped by the TAXI/EXOD crossing -- didn't really think about that one too much when I saw the words "cry" and "whistle," so I just put down TAXI, looked at the down clue, saw it was going for a Bible book, and moved on. What really held me up was 52-Across -- I had STEAMED MEAT for a long time and could not see what was wrong with it. Forgetting Janet LEIGH's last name and not knowing Willy LEY at all didn't help. I eventually got it when SILVER came to me, but not after feeling severely humbled. And what does the clue for SILVER even refer to? Filling teeth? Seems pretty complex for a Tuesday.

I have to wonder how the grid would have been different if PLAIN YOGURT and STEAMED MILK had switched places. IRIDIUM isn't a bad piece of fill -- at least, this former chemist doesn't think so -- but if those two theme answers switched, you'd have to fill A--D--G down the middle. Great, you could do ABIDING. Again, I have no idea how that would make the rest of the puzzle better or worse, but it certainly would have gotten rid of the EXOD/OUS crossing.

OTD 6:52 AM  

Easy for me. Only erasure was Poems for POESY. Never saw EXOD, got it from the crosses. Loved the theme. Once I put in BLUECHEESE I was on my way to a fast ending--almost record time for a Tuesday.

Z 7:03 AM  

Definitely a medium here (14 minutes by the clock on the wall - well - cable box actually). WHIPPED creams before BUTTER, hip before SIS, and Gen. e. lee before EXOD, otherwise pretty straight forward. That X was my last letter in.

Early on I had WISER and WHIPPED CREAM and was whondering if we were going to go down that path again.

When is the last time we had a Ford or GM product in the puzzle? It's always Hyundais and Kias and Saabs and Audis. We even get a TOYOTA today. The Ford "F" word model names seem ripe for a puzzle.

webwinger 7:05 AM  

Ditto the experience of Rex and others at the EXOD/TAXI crossing--stared the empty square for a couple of minutes with the whole rest of the grid done and no doubts about surroundings, before it finally jumped out at me--and how perfect that it was an X!. I thought the nearby cavern/gorge clue, with similarly geologic stems leading to very different meanings when completed with OUS, was quite clever, one of the best for this kind of partial word answer. Ended up with a fairly typical Tuesday time, as I lucked out at most of the other potential trouble spots that have been mentioned.

Milford 7:14 AM  

So relieved to read that @Rex et al. got absolutely befuddled by the TA_I/E_O cross, complete with a desperate run of the alphabet.

Unfortunately, the same thing happened up top at SeS/OLeO until I reluctantly put in OLIO, not having a clue why SIS was part of a cheer. I found out it's SIS-boom-bah. OK. And "oleo" is just the margarine, while every other mixture is OLIO. How did I ever finish crosswords before making this distinction? Amazingly, I finished in an average sort of time, even after getting almost double naticked!

The dairy theme was cute and fun - I actually just had a dish of PLAIN Greek YOGURT, with a dollop of honey, immediately before doing the puzzle. But I felt sorry for the one cow getting called portly when she makes the best stuff, the HEAVY CREAM.

Nice fill with SOUR MASH, HIATUS, and EGGSHELL.

Oh yeah, I also at first had the magician at 57A pulling a rabbit out of "his HAT" before TOP HAT. That was a good one.

dk 7:27 AM  
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Evan 7:27 AM  


I learned OLEO and OLIO from crosswords. The way I remember which is which is -- OLIO is a mIxture, and has an I. The other one doesn't have an I.

dk 7:36 AM  


Many things to like about this puzzle. Cue a TAXI on a rainy San Francisco street as the opening credits of ACME NOIR roll.

🚖🚖🚖 (3 Taxis) One of the better Tuesday puzzles mooed Tom melodiously.

MetaRex 7:42 AM  

I had DUMB and PLAID YOGURT...took me a while, but I finally saw the light there after realizing EXOD was in fact right and got one of my slowest Tuesday times ever.

Gotta tip my hat to Jay Kaskel and Will on this one. If I'd just lost precious minutes on Exod., I might be full of righteous anger. But having DUMB as my final hang-up wrong answer really was rather beautiful and appropriate.

I wanted MERKEL or SCHROEDER for "Kohl's competitor." That clue was a nice misdirection for German politics nerds among us who don't do enough shopping.

More at Dumb

MikeM 7:49 AM  

Easy Peasy. I ran the table once I got the theme. Very surprise Rex rated it so difficult. That happens sometimes, you stare at it and just cannot figure a crossing out. I breezed over TAXI/EXOD althoug EXOD is clunky. The only write over was POEms/POESY. Not even sure what POESY means. Pocketful of POESY? I though that was posies. Thanks Jay, I enjoyed it

jackj 7:58 AM  

Cows used to be mellow creatures, (although one of their wilder ones did jump over the moon), but mainly they just moseyed around their favorite lea, munching their cuds, giving the world healthful milk and leading the blandest of existences, until they organized their rogue campaign to “Eat Mor Chikin”.

And now, according to Jay Kaskel, the herd needs its own “Bovine Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (BDSM) to deal with the pressures of modern living.

STEAMEDMILK means Angry Angus need calming valium; no more HEAVYCREAM from hefty Herefords; and exhausted, downtrodden cows are tired of producing WHIPPEDBUTTER after Vermont cow-tippers have done their nasty deed.

Ritalin all around! No more jejune Jerseys!

The fill was fun, too, as Jay K. fell in love with “US” as in HIATUS, STATUS and OUS, ACME showed up to take a bow, POESY showed all the deadheads that verses aren’t necessarily just POEMS and “Thrills” cleverly clued KICKS that then provided a “K” for the nicely clued KILLS.

Interesting, but not necessarily fun, were a name never known, until Yaakov Bendavid used it on Sunday past, LEY. It was back again today, but now it’s a gimme and EXOD, (wasn’t that meant to be EXER, a variation on Gen-Xer?), No, think Old Testament and what comes after Gen(esis), EXOD(us).

A fascinating, fun puzzle from Jay Kaskel; next up, analysis for that confused, emotionally troubled mammal desperately seeking an identity, the platypus.

Rob C 8:16 AM  

Fun puzzle. Fine theme for a Tues. This has some of the good, solid mid-length fill that Rex lauded last week SOURMASH, HIATUS, SAVAGE, FARSI, TOPHAT, IMHO... Liked the mini-car theme also TOYOTA, OPTIMA, TAXI

A little bit tough. I don't time myself, but it felt like no more than an extra few minutes.

If you didn't like the puzzle today, just Mooooove along to Wednesday. Yeah I know. Couldn't help it.

Unknown 8:21 AM  

It's funny the things that trip you up. I stumbled on POESY, but blew right past TAXI/EXOD without blinking. Theme was pretty cute...left me thinking of Gary Larson's wonderful Far Side cows,

efrex 8:24 AM  

Much to enjoy in this one. Even with the TAXI/EXOD cross, and having RAH before SIS, finished in solid time (I may have even beaten Rex's time on this one). Liked the theme a lot, which more than made up for some of the suboptimal fill.

Can't get xwordinfo at work (durned firewall blocking "games" sites), but curious how often SIS gets clued as something other than a sibling, especially early in the week; seems a bit sneaky for a Tuesday.

No lactose intolerance for me on this one. Nice job, Mr. Kaskel!

joho 8:36 AM  

Loved the cow theme! MOOOO!

@ACME ... you started your stand up career at the tender age of 5? So interesting as I read the grid as ACME KILLS!

I wanted able before ONEA and, of course, had EXer before the dreaded EXOD.

Thanks, Jay Kaskel, this delightfully dairy fresh!

Sarah 8:43 AM  

I love cows, and I thought this was an adorable puzzle.

Tita 8:49 AM  

In the doc's waiting room, so have only made it as far as pk...
@pk...there are lots of ways to gauge difficulty...
Number of writer-overs, including those that you had right, erased, only to put them back again...
How many you entered without needing crosses, and of course, overall time as compared to your own "norm", taking into account all those pauses to walk the dog, answer the door, sleep... but including the time when you just say and stared at a Natick. Did you solve top to bottom, our were you all over the grid, searching for a foothold...
As y'all know,r.alph and I collaborate on an app that takes all that into account...
As the opposite of a speed demon (with puzzles, that is), it was cool for me to see all the other difficulty factors quantified.

joho 9:01 AM  

whoops, should be "this was delightfully dairy fresh!"

jberg 9:05 AM  

I'm originally from Wisconsin, so of course I loved the cows. And I loved the -OUS clue, too - I'm with @webwinger on that one. Also the STATUS/HIATUS cross.

I didn't understand EXOD until I came here - read Rex's long discussion, in which he never explains it, with rising frustration - and then was suddenly enlightened by @Jae, so thanks to the latter!

I don't mind the TOP HAT and LEY repeats so close together - but wasn't Mr. LEY 'Willie' on Sunday and 'Willy' today? I'd like to get that one straight - I read him a lot in my teens, but can't remember now. (Just checked - he seems to have been Willy, but often mentioned as Willie.) Anyway, it was nice to see him in there with Carl Sagan.

Only two real gripes: ATONER (ugh), and EGGSHELL, which in my neighborhood paint story is a texture (glossy, satin, or eggshell), not a color. My living room is violet paint in an eggshell finish (looks better than it sounds).

Two gripes isn't too bad - the cows more than make up for it! Not to mention the IRIDIUM.

OldCarFudd 9:09 AM  

Yeah, the X slowed me down, too. And some things were slow to reveal themselves. But that theme was a hoot! (Do cows hoot? I didn't think so.) This was just lots of fun!

B Donohue 9:18 AM  

Loved this puzzle. The theme answers made me smile and laugh.

I had the same problem as Rex with the EXOD/TAXI cross, though I came to the X more easily because I was thinking of variants of "Gen X-er." I feel like I've had this same problem with Exod. or Exodus in the past. I also thought dUMB before NUMB and POEms before POESY.

I think I should count it a success when my time is less than double Rex's- so today was a success and a medium for me.

Joe The Juggler 9:22 AM  

Woo-hoo! I finished a puzzle in a faster time than Rex for the first time ever!

I was pretty much on the right wavelength with this puzzle. I'm not sure that that signifies anything good, though.

David L 9:23 AM  

Had EXER at first, changed it EXOD because of the crossings, looked back at the clue and thought, well, General Exod must be one of the countless Star Wars characters I'm not familiar with. Good thing you don't always have to understand the clue to get the right answer.

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

Anyone else try Gen. Elec. first at that infamous cross?

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

Agree about the comments about this being "easier" (relatively) for non-speed demons. In the world of us normies, this was all pretty gettable with an enjoyable theme. Clues on TAXI and OUS saved that section for me.

baja 10:32 AM  

Really liked this! I am befuddled on a daily basis so no news here. Stuck on the gasp/poesy crossing. Ran the alphabet and tried sis - thought sister does not fit so left that blank - and so it goes - on to tomorrow

Two Ponies 10:33 AM  

I liked this a lot.
I also paused at the clue for taxi because I was thinking sports.
Nice one Jay.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:37 AM  

Holy cow, what a high-calorie puzzle!

If there were one little fly at which to swish one's tail, I think it would be at 25 A, where I would object to the equivalence of "Homely" with "PLAIN." Americans equate homely with ugly, although I believe British usage defines homely as more like "what you would find in the average home; ordinary." I don't believe an ordinary-looking American cow would accept being called homely.

chefbea 10:52 AM  

Loved the puzzle. very easy. Knew taxi right away but wasn't sure what Exod meant. Guess I should call puzzle husband..yes!!

Gareth Bain 10:54 AM  

Happy birthday MAC!

I got TAXI quickly doubted the existence of EXOD, but after considering the crossings shrugged and moooo-ved on.

Never seen blue cheese spelled bleu before. News to me.

AZPETE 10:54 AM  

What the deuce is "IMHO"?

Sandy K 11:07 AM  

Me too for dUMB before NUMB- PLAId YOGURT?

Knew TAXI, but put in EXer- realized it's Gen X-er, so had a big mess til I got EXOD- not that I knew what it meant til I got here.

@ACME KILLS- thought it's spelled BLeu CHEESE too.

Cute theme, despite some SPLATS.

quilter1 11:08 AM  

@Acme: I hate it when menus misspell Reuben (Rueben), my favorite sandwich and the son of Jacob with the most integrity.

I also missed the X in the middle, embarrassing for a person who thinks she knows the Bible, but then I have never whistled for a TAXI so it never crossed my mind. I was thinking sports and refs. As for the rest, Tuesday easy and I liked the cows.

jae 11:12 AM  

@jberg -- Same thing in my paint store regarding EGGSHELL.

And, in the front of my Revised Standard Version Bible from 1952 the abbreviation for Exodus is EX.

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

There is a specific BLUE CHEESE called Bleu (Bleu d'Auvergne). BLUE CHEESE is a catetory of cheeses, which contain many specific instances (Stilton, Roquefort,...)

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

In My Humble Opinion= IMHO

WA 11:21 AM  

Easy but fun. EXOD was written by Leo Uri.

I was looking for byproduct of a cheated cow-skimmed milk.

Milford 11:24 AM  

Thanks, Evan, that helps. Also learned the grey/gray and blond/blonde distinctions from this blog. Ain't language fun?

Unknown 11:24 AM  

PLAIN is a euphemism for homely.

Carola 11:41 AM  

I live in Wisconsin, so had to love this one. Looked like the contents of my refrigerator - although the half-and-half is missing. Glad there was some good HDL cholesterol in there to make it a little healthier. And that we had OLIO and not its homonym OLeO (shudder!) trying to sneak into dairyland. Wondering about that EGGSHELL linking the BUTTER and CREAM....maybe it's lying on the counter after a quiche was put together.

Glad to remember Willy LEY from the earlier puzzle. Me, too, on the X in TAXI/ EXOD being the last letter filled in. Fun to see you there, @ACME.

Lewis 11:46 AM  

@WA -- very funny!

Rex, it is a gift for you and all of us, when you get stuck like you did. Then you, for a moment, feel what many of us feel often, and it helps you to become more empathic. Occasionally you are bombastic, and moments like that are a blessed hedge against that.

Clever Tuesday theme...

Notsofast 11:58 AM  

Wow! what fun! Smart, brilliant clueing at times. Especially liked 49A "Suffix with cavern or gorge?" and 68A "Does fantastic stand-up". But "WHIPPEDBUTTer"blew me away! Crazy good! Best puzzle of the year, IMHO. A+

chefbea 12:01 PM  

@Mac happy b-day

For the 4th of July I make Red, White and Bleu cole slaw. It of course has bleu cheese in it.

Masked and Anonymo7Us 12:22 PM  

Some hopeful moments when first arrivin' at the sad cow byproduct clue. First thought... BLUE CHIPS. Wow! What a theme, I mused. Slight letdown, when bossy just cut the -CHEESE. But hey -- still a cool theme idea.

Vaguely noticed EXOD/OUS, rubbernecking that pile-up, as I flew by. Had more trouble with POESY. But all-in-all, a pretty routine solve, here. Sorry about yer crash and burn, @31.

Fave fillins: HIATUS, KICKS, SILVER, IRIDIUM. What anniversary is iridium, btw?

Fave clue: "Byproduct of a constipated dairy cow?".
...Well, I can dream, can't I? Ans: MILKDUDS.

lawprof 12:29 PM  

Seemed pretty typical for a Tuesday. The 42A/38D intersection posed no problem because TAXI seemed clear as the post-whistle cry and all of the other crosses were solid.

EXOD's clue, however, left me scratching my head. I assumed it to be some sort of Biblical reference: general exodus? Genesis-Exodus? I remember. (Actually, I didn't really "remember" - I had to pull the Good Book off the shelf and check it out).

Davis 12:31 PM  

Chalk me up as another one who stumbled at the EXOD/TAXI crossing. Why was that so difficult?

Even with that issue, this ended up being a medium Tuesday for me (just under 6 minutes). Probably the only puzzle I'll ever get a better time than Rex...

syndy 1:06 PM  

I miss read the clue at first so I had ELEE! when I was done tipping cows and came back to reread it I had -nothing! Here in SO CAL cabs are called by phone-I naticked up bigtime.On a tuesday so I am so so glad that Rex joined the rest of us in distress today.(I think I have seen plaid yoghurt in my fridge)

Anoa Bob 1:59 PM  

Okay gastronomes, what do you get when you mix up some SOUR MASH and ALE, a PEAR, some EGG SHELL on top of some General TSO's chicken, and then, SPLAT, throw it all down on the grill and smother it in CHEESE, YOGURT, BUTTER, MILK and CREAM?

UNSURE myself, just asking, but I bet it AIN'T good for your HDL STATUS. Might oughta take an after-dinner Tic TAC too.

chefbea 2:05 PM  

@anoa Bob I think if you mixed all that together and threw it on the would have a huge mess. This gastonome is much wiser and would never prepare something like that.

xyz 2:24 PM  

I thought NE was clumsy.

Crossing abr. Messy?

eeeeeeeh pfffft

Anonymous 2:25 PM  

I don't know what language, or what script, god gave the commandments to Moses in, but damn, it sure is dense.

On the tablets, the second commandment consists of exactly eighteen characters. These eighteen characters say:

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God,visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments."

If we had the same density in English, Twitter would be limited to 2 characters or fewer. Or, 142 characters in Twitter could accomodate War and Peace.

Anonymous 2:27 PM  

Good one for novices like me. IMHO the last word I filled in. What does it mean?

Anonymous 2:27 PM  

It's a somewhat common misconception that ROGER means YES. It does not. It means MESSAGE RECEIVED.

Masked and Unonymous 2:42 PM  

@Anoa Bob: U get a few quality hours of scrapin' crud off the grill grate and bowl. Also, a whole heap of smoke. har.

While We're Here Dept:

WHIPPEDBUTTER was in a 2003 NYTPuz about mistreatin' various food items.

Like some very wise commentor earlier, this cow theme reminded me of The Far Side. That cartoon also liked to feature warring cats and dogs, so more good puz theme material there, maybe? Miss that cartoon; some days it was as hard to solve as the puz. Especially the one he drew about primitive cow tools.

Unknown 3:08 PM  

Thank you. Even after I got exod, I had no idea what it represented. Same with Ntest. I am new to crosswords.

chefbea 3:17 PM  

@amy Khoudari welcome to the world of xwords and to Rexville. Tried to go to your blog but it said I had to be invited. E-mail me...we have something in common

Anonymous 3:53 PM  

IMHO is explained above. Sometimes, not always, it helps to read the comments.

Sfingi 4:10 PM  

Two Naticks - on a Tuesday. One at TAXI crosses EXOD and the other at SIS crosses GASP.

sanfranman59 4:50 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak to my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Tue 8:29, 8:37, 0.99, 46%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:08, 5:01, 1.02, 57%, Medium

Tita 5:15 PM  

@pk - one of my favorite all time lines from this blog...
"Plus, I like the idea of emotional cows. It's Fat Stock Show and Rodeo time here in Cowtown, and I imagine that cow emotions are running quite high."
Thank you!

IRIDIUM the company named itself after the number of satellites it was going to launch to provide its service - 77 - the ATNO of IRIDIUM.
Well, they only got budget for 66 - but they kept the name.

Hilarious puzzle, blog, and comments.
Thank you all.

Tita 5:19 PM  

Forgot to add "because IRIDIUM is a better name than dysprosium." Now you know.

Sparky 5:49 PM  

Liked this a lot. Found emotional cows funny. Thanks @jackj for BDSM, etc.

TAXI went in easily and like @David L, when I didn't understand EXOD just thought "If You Say So." Had EXer first. Bill nEY before LEY.

Tip of the TOP HAT to ACME.

Happy birthday MAC.

dk 7:01 PM  

Where in WI are you? I, Saint Croix Falls.

John V 7:24 PM  

Bringing up the rear, after a day trip to Albany, 6:00 departure. Wow am I tired. Solved this one at 3:30 p.m. when I got home.

Anyhoo. This was a LOT of fun and plenty easy. Non-puz spouse found the theme answers to be groaners and amusing; me, too.

Scanned the comments re EXOD, some crossings etc. Geez.\; I sooo don't care. This was fun. I save the analysis paralysis for work, not for puzzles.

My two cents.

Hey, Jay Kaskel, come back sooner, here?

retired_chemist 8:57 PM  

Good one. Easy for a Tuesday. Everything (mostly) in my wheelhouse. Needed some crosses to get BLUE CHEESE, but once I did the theme was clear and things just fell into place. Gen. follower EXOD was not a trap here. Hand up for HIP to start my cheer.

Nothing to add except thanks to Mr. Kaskel. Do come back soon.

sanfranman59 10:02 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 5:45, 6:12, 0.93, 17%, Easy
Tue 8:31, 8:37, 0.99, 46%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:41, 3:39, 1.01, 54%, Medium
Tue 5:04, 5:01, 1.01, 54%, Medium

Noam D. Elkies 10:07 PM  

Even not knowing 26D:IRIDIUM you could have kept the -IUM pretty confidently. (To remember the spelling it may help that the element was named after the Greek rainbow goddess IRIS, because its compounds have many different colors; that's also where we get IRIDESCENT from.) Yes, much cooler name than Dyspepsium or whatever Element 66 is.

Are the cows on the Moon envious (or perhaps just inexperienced)?


mac 11:05 PM  

Really funny puzzle! On the hard side, but not too badly so. Anyway, nothing can spoil my day.

@jberg: you're absolutely right, eggshell is a finish, not a tone.

Thanks for the congratulations!

Smoking Alternative 3:55 PM  

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Spacecraft 11:55 AM  

STEAMEDMILK is a new one on me. I'd never go around steaming the stuff. Someone mentioned a barista; I drinks me coffee black and unsugared. The rest of those "by-"products I know and love.

Started at COSMOS when my eye caught the name of one of my heroes, Carl Sagan. From then on, the puzzle could not evoke a thumbs-down from me--though in spots it tried! NTESTS: I thought those babies were banned. Can't we ban them from crosswords too? Hey, who's in charge here? Other groaners include the shopworn TRA, ONEA and even TSO lately; plus the ugly partial AROW.

Ah, but then there are the wonderful moments, like that socko clue for OUS. That might be the best clue ever. Little tricks like the symmetrical cars TOYOTA and OPTIMA, elements IRIDIUM and SILVER, and some thought-inspiring word groups. We who are STATUS-conscious SHUN the word "AINT" and pronounce VASE as "vahz." Please, we're not SAVAGEs. Then there was the couple who ELOPEd. Bet they're WISER now! And the ad on the next ACME gadget: "KILLS roadrunners: SPLAT!" Now that's cartoon film NOIR!

Hand up for running the alphabet, but I took it out to the X the first time, getting my aha! in a relative hurry. There were some snags solving this one--must have counted out the letters in WHIPPEDCREAM four times before I convinced myself I was one short. I'll call it easy-medium.

Also liked the nod to Jamie Lee's mom.

DMGrandma 2:43 PM  

Enjoyed the trip through dairy land, even if I can't touch the stuff. Finally figured out what EXOD stood for, and came here to gloat that I'd finished everything. Only reading the comments left me wondering where IMHO was. Never saw it. For good reason. My metal was IRaDIUM! Alas. But then, gloating isn't good for the soul.

rain forest 2:46 PM  

There was a lot to like in this easy puzzle, and I thought the theme was cute and amusing. I had a similar roadblock to others in the EXOD area where I put in EXER thinking "that's not right". When STEAMEDMILK had to be correct, I wondered what the heck Gen.Exod meant. I eventually just left it like that, and only when I finished the rest, it hit me--Exodus! Jeez. The only entry I disliked was the popular ATONER.

Charles F 6:59 PM  

Here in Vancouver this puzzle appeared on 26Feb...

thought north central was weak - got into all kinds of trouble
misspelled to OLEO then
S-IS ?? (honestly...!) tried YES, then stumped by GAY-P
so thought 6A and 8D were terrible clues

got TAXI, then EXOD immediately made sense so didn't waste time there

chuckled at PLAIDYOGURT but went with it

in the end, wasn't slow but made mistakes...

Joshua 9:51 PM  

Anonymous @2:25: I'm not sure where you got the "18 characters" from. You can compare the Hebrew and English text of the 10 Commandments here. It takes 43 Hebrew words just to communicate the commandment as you quoted it.

Anonymous 7:09 AM  

it was not that bad

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